Business-Government Interaction in Policy Councils in Latin America: Cheap Talk, Expensive Exchanges, or Collaborative Learning?

Oct 2010
While effective industrial policy requires close cooperation between government and business, there is little agreement on what makes that cooperation work best. This paper analyzes institutional arrangements for public-private cooperation and the character of private sector representation. Questions on institutional design focus on three main issues: i) maximizing the benefits of dialogue and information exchange; ii) motivating participation through authoritative allocation; and iii) minimizing unproductive rent seeking. Key elements in the nature of business representation through associations are the quality of research staff and internal mechanisms for reconciling divergent preferences within associations. The empirical analysis also disaggregates councils by scope (economy-wide versus targeted), function (trade, upgrading, technology, etc.), sector (agriculture, industry, services), and level (national, provincial, and municipal).